Exploring Dutch Harbor

Exploring Dutch Harbor

The crew enjoyed a full uninterrupted night’s sleep for the first time in eleven days. After we got up, Clay cooked breakfast making us southern style cheesy grits, eggs, bacon, and toast.

The pier we are tied to is as far from anything as you can get in Dutch Harbor, well beyond walking distance, so organizing ground transportation was our first priority. “Bong”, the Philippino fuel attendant who had helped us load diesel the night before, had offered a lift to town. He gave Don and Sharry a ride in where they pickup up a rental car.

The next order of business was getting communications with the outside world. Cell service is spotty and inconsistent here. I was able to call Lori from the fuel dock when we arrived, but I don’t have service here at our berth. Nobody else has fared better.

Brandy in the office supply store said our best bet was buying a WiFi service plan, that we could share. We did, but that doesn’t function out on the boat either. For the moment we are communicating using our satellite system, just like we do at sea. We have heard that there is free WiFi at the municipal library so we are headed that way today.

We went to the airport to organize a flight out for Kyle. This is a busy place with fishermen and cannery workers coming and going. There are five scheduled flights in and out each day. Interestingly, they use planes that have less than fifty seats in them. Any more than fifty passengers per plane and they’d have to have a TSA presence, which they don’t. That makes sense. It is common knowledge that terrorists will only fly in planes that have more than fifty seats.

I picked up a visitor’s guide to Dutch Harbor at the airport and we used it as our guide to explore. The map showed a loop road up in the mountains so we drove it. This ten mile long dirt road switch backed up to about a thousand feet in the hills behind the harbor and then returned to town. It clearly took a lot of effort to build and maintain the road. In fact, we had to pull over a couple of times for road maintenance vehicles to pass, graders and dump trucks. We couldn’t determine the purpose for the road. There was nothing back there. The view was great though.

We stomped around the Russian Orthodox Church, complete with domes, and toured all the harbors. The center of action in Dutch is Safeway, where we had lunch. It is the biggest and best stocked Safeway I have ever seen.

We ended our tour of the city at the ruins of Fort Schwatka, the WW2 American battery on the top of the hill overlooking Dutch Harbor. The very fancy sign there indicated that there were 1,000 GIs stationed there during the war. That had to be cold boring duty. The sign also stated that at 897 feet above sea level, it was the highest military post in the United States. Hmmm.

No Comments

Post A Comment